Birthdays change when you are a mother. Birthdays become Birth Days. The anniversary brings vivid memories, sharp emotions, and overwhelming adoration for that baby that arrived. Birth Days really change a woman.
Two things have really consumed my thoughts leading up to this birthday. The first happened innocently: Rachel was doing the typical, "How old will I be when Cordelia is 15? ... How old will I be when Kingsley is 8? ... How old will I be..." And doing a quick math riddle in my head made me announce that next month Rachel would be exactly twice Kingsley's age. Pretty cool! Except then I started thinking about everything that happened in Rachel's first four years vs what happened in Kingsley's first four years. Namely: two more children vs no more children.
Then, my blogger friend Mary Evelyn wrote this beautiful piece on having another child after having a child with SB and some of her words felt like a punch in the stomach.
We had always hemmed and hawed about having four children. I have 6 stocking hooks that I bought when Cordelia was a baby, because we just didn't know. I joked about stopping at three, but if I'm being honest, I did anticipate caving to Jeff and going for four.
When I was pregnant with Kingsley, after we knew, when life was torn into shreds and I was flailing for anything to ground me, I swore that he was going to be the last. I couldn't go through that again. It wasn't anything to do with him or his diagnosis, it was the pregnancy and the feelings of total helplessness, hopelessness. I had never been so sad or so scared in my entire life.
When he approached the age that the girls were when I got the baby bug, I had other things on my mind. My son had just had his fourth surgery. We were just coming to terms with the fact that he was not going to walk and all of the implications of that reality. We were busy. My mind was on other things. As Dumbledore would say, "we had enough responsibility to be going on with."
Sometimes, I am a little bit haunted by the thought Mary Evelyn had: Some decisions can only be made from a place of love-- not from a place of fear. Did I make my choice from a place of love or from a place of fear?
I honestly don't know.
When you have your first girl, people immediately ask when you will be trying for a boy.
When you have your second girl, people immediately ask when you will be trying for a boy.
When you have your third child and it's a boy, people ask if you're done.
If that boy has a disability, no one asks, they just assume you're done. You're off the hook.
If he had been my first child, I would have to be brave. I could not stop there, I would have to have more babies. My arms would not have been full enough with just one child.
I don't know what the answer is. What I do know is that tomorrow, my little boy turns four years old. He is my favourite boy. He is my only boy.